This is a tutorial intended to help fellow needle felters out there with embellishments and details; however, I hope that non-needle felters out there will peruse the tutorial in order to get a sense of the process that I go through in order to create my little felt toys. This is the first toy that I am sharing the beginning to end process; so please enjoy!
Sometimes I like to incorporate embroidery into my needle felted toys. Today I am going to be showing you an example of when I would use the technique of embroidery. I am by no means an expert at embroidery; my mother-in-law was kind enough to hand down her embroidery thread collection to me. I have a choice of hundreds of colors to choose from. I do not like letting resources go to waste and honestly embroidery really works better for some of the details. For my example, I am going to use this felted fish.
I began my fish by felting a round ball and creating a triangle with a dent in the middle for a tail fin. Then I attached the tail fin to the ball by needle felting. Now, I wanted a few lines to embellish the tail fin. I initially pulled out a few fine tufts of wool and needle felted them into place. The problem is that with flat pieces of felt(which the tail fin is), when you needle felt on one side it pokes out the other. This leaves an unfinished look on the opposite side and when you turn it to that side to try and fix it, you mess up the original side. This is fine in some instances, if only one side needs to appear finished, but for a tail fin both sides were to be visible.
Because I was unsatisfied with the felted details, I decided to try with a similar color embroidery thread. The results were much neater on both sides. And the embroidery thread had a glossy finish which I felt added to my project being that it was a fish!
Now on to the side fins, first I constructed two somewhat triangular shapes and felted them to each side of my fish. I did the same embroidery details on the side fins using the most basic of stitches and the same colored thread.
As you can see I also added an adorable face to my fish before the next step. The details of the face I needle felted on. I prefer to needle felt the details on a 3-dimensional object like this ball. It is easier than trying to angle the embroidery needle in just so and I prefer the soft look of felting on my faces.
Now I have added the limbs(fins), face, and embroidery details, but he looks a little messy due to the stray embroidery threads and knots. This is easily fixed when you are adding a finishing color over the core color. For my finishing color, I chose a bright yellow. I imagined a tropical fish! When needle felting the finishing color on the fish body I simply had to carefully encase all the stray embroidery threads under the yellow wool. Also, wherever there is an embroidery thread knot extreme care is needed, so as to not damage the felting needle.
As you can see, adding a finishing color, has cleaned up the fish amazingly well. Those little threads that were unsightly are covered up nicely. However, I am still not satisfied; he looks like a tennis ball fish!(at least that’s what my husband said!). I needed to break up this yellow color and what better way than adding the illusion of scales. Again, I will needle felt the scales because this is detail on a 3-dimensional ball. I simply pulled small tufts of wool and stretched them into place, needle felting it down as I went.
And now he is complete; he(or she) is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed viewing the toy making process in its’ entirety. Please feel free to share what you think of my newest addition!